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SoBeWFF 2015: Barbecue, Blues, Burrell, and Rok BRGR's Sweet Caroline Burger

On any other night, a barbecue bash at the Shore Club to kick off South Beach Wine & Food Festival would be a "shore thing." But last night's cold temps meant Miamians needed hot meat, blues for their temperature troubles, and booze to warm them up more than ever.

At Barbecue & the Blues, host Anne Burrell, who is a New Yorker, scoffed at the cold and at Miami Thrillist editor and co-host, Matt Meltzer, in his fur coat. She asked, "Is that your grandma's coat?"

Guests carefully maneuvered around the event to avoid a dip in the pool and waited as their favorite local meat-centric restaurants turned out plates of ribs, brisket, burgers, sandwiches and mac and cheese. Although, at the end of the night, the people had spoken and Rok BRGR and their Sweet Caroline burger took the crown as the band and crowd belted out a song. And to quote Mr. Diamond, "Good times never seemed so good."

This is basically what Anne Burrell thought of Miamians suffering in the cold or dressed like this...

Seriously, the Namath and Mackelmore references were served all night.

But on to the food served. Pincho Factory, who knows Miamians taste so well, gave us the perfect bite: a slow-braised brisket croquette for something "Midwest meets Miami."

Sparky's Roadside Barbecue seemed to always have the biggest line of the night and gave out generous portions.

Another local barbecue joint that brought the goods was Uncle Tom's and their holy trinity: meat, mac and slaw.

A newcomer to the scene was Drunken Dragon, which brought an air of smokiness to the party and some pretty killer Korean-style barbecue.

Chef Paula DeSilva made a pretty ambitious treat and one of our favorite bites of the night: a homemade beef sausage with cheddar and herbs, a spicy potato salad, and some fresh pickles.

Howie "Bulldog" Kleinberg put his head to the meat to turn out some tasty smoked brisket tacos where the meat was top dog.

Speaking of brisket, a real showstopper bite was served from BLT with a confetti of fried onions on top to get brisket this tender and tasty.

Beyond brisket and on to brewskies, you had to to enter the somewhat hidden beer garden.

Local brewers, like Gravity Brewlab and more were present, but a favorite was the DIY guys at Daddy Brews who teach you how to make your own beer and sell you supplies.

Daddy Brews had a Hop Squeeze IPA with tropical fruit (even dragon fruit) and a Chocolate Cream Dream imperial stout.

At the end of the evening, Anne Burrell took the stage once more to announce the winner: Rok BRGR for their Sweet Caroline burger.

It came as little surprise as their line was always massive and you watched the care that went into each burger that went out.

The winning burger.

The winning team.

Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst


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